bridge

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Mind Games - PaulMarston

The key plays on to­day’s deals are very sim­ple and very ef­fec­tive yet few bridge play­ers would even think of them. The rea­son is that they call for putting your­self in your op­po­nents’ shoes and most play­ers are not in the habit of do­ing this.

Here you are in five clubs on the lead of the three of spades. It looks like one off for sure, los­ing three aces. But one de­clarer did bet­ter, dis­card­ing all three of his los­ing hearts.

The suc­cess­ful de­clarer played the five of spades from dummy at trick one! He didn’t give up any­thing by do­ing this be­cause it was a bridge cer­tainty that East held the ace of spades — no one of any ex­pe­ri­ence leads a suit headed by the ace with­out the king. Now look at things from East’s point of view. When de­clarer played low in dummy it looked for all the world that he had the ten so East rose with the ace. Now when de­clarer fol­lowed with a low spade, it placed West with a sin­gle­ton so East re­turned a spade for his part­ner to ruff. It must have come as quite a sur­prise when de­clarer was the one who showed out, pitch­ing all three of his los­ing hearts to land his un­likely game.

The next deal comes from the Buf­fet Cup, a com­pe­ti­tion be­tween Europe and Amer­ica mod­elled on golf’s Ry­der Cup.

A num­ber of ta­bles played in three hearts mak­ing three. West started with a top club and shifted to a di­a­mond, taken by de­clarer with the queen. De­clarer still had to lose a di­a­mond so the suc­cess of the hand would de­pend on los­ing just two hearts. De­clarer played a heart to the king in dummy, taken by East with the ace. De­clarer next broached hearts by lead­ing the nine in dummy and let­ting it run when East played low, hold­ing the trump losers to just two.

Only one East man­aged to take three heart tricks and beat the con­tract. It was mul­ti­ple world cham­pion Gior­gio Duboin of Italy who saw things from de­clarer’s point of view. When de­clarer played a heart to the king, Duboin ducked. This nat­u­rally gave de­clarer the im­pres­sion that West held the ace of hearts so when de­clarer played the nine of hearts off dummy and Duboin played the ten, de­clarer played low hop­ing that West’s pu­ta­tive ace was now bare. Duboin’s clever ruse im­me­di­ately be­came clear when West showed out but it was too late. Noth­ing could stop Duboin mak­ing two more heart tricks with the ace and jack for one down.

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